Drive-In Movies and Drive-Up Meals


We didn’t have drive-thru fast food restaurants in the early sixties.  What we did have were drive-in movies and drive-up diners.

One of the main differences in these two establishments is that we were allowed to go to the diner, but never the drive-in!  Rumors had it, and most were probably true, that the attendees spent a good deal of time necking, and my parent’s daughters were not to go near this den of sin.  Mother took it to a bit of extreme, because when we would drive by the theater, we were told to look to the other side.  We were not even allowed to glance at the screen during a drive by!  It’s pretty hilarious, when I think about it.  When a parent puts that many restrictions on a place, it makes it all the more appealing to adventurous and curious daughters, like the Payne girls.


There was a drive-up diner directly across the street from the drive-in theater.  Malcolm’s was one of our favorite places to eat.  We often stopped there after church on Sunday night to get a Full House, which was hot tamales and chili, or the best hot dogs in the universe.  Malcolm’s had car hops that would come to the car to take your order; later returning to bring a tray full of food.   Daddy would roll down the window about three-fourths of the way, so that the car hop could attach the tray to it.    The only thing I had my mind on was sinking my teeth into the hot dog that Daddy passed to the back seat, where Suzanne, Jeneane, and I were sitting.  Suzanne had other things on her young, nine-year old mind.  She spread her napkins in the rear window of the car.  She sat on her knees to eat her food out of the car window…while she watched the drive-in movie screen across the street.  Mother and Daddy never suspected a thing, and never said a word about it.  It didn’t occur to either Jeaneane or me what she was doing, or I’m certain that one of us would have called attention to it.  We lived (The ‘i’ is not a typo.) to get each other into trouble.

I didn’t get off quite so easily.  One of my dates convinced me that it wouldn’t be bad if  he took me to the drive-in movie instead of the walk-in.  I really liked this guy, so I agreed.  Though we didn’t “neck”, he did kiss me.  He did NOT know how to kiss!  He latched onto my lips with his teeth!  He just about sucked my lips down his windpipe that night.  Nothing was noticeable until the next morning.  I got up to get ready for church.  I couldn’t believe what was glaring back at me from the mirror!  My entire mouth was encircled with a huge red ring.  My lips were so swollen, you could have wet them and stuck me to a window.  I was left shaking in my penny loafers, because I couldn’t think of a good enough story to explain it away.

Judgement was imminent.  There was nothing to do but to go straight to mother and pray that she would pave the way before Daddy saw me.  I came clean with her, mostly.  I did admit to the horrible kiss the guy had given me, but I didn’t tell her I got it at the drive-in. I will say I never went to the drive-in again without their knowledge.  I went out with the guy a couple more times, but didn’t allow him to put the jaws of life on me again.

I learned from this experience that:

1. We had all been conned by the youngest of the Payne family.

2. That one can weave a web of deception, but it generally unravels over time.

3. That my parents were usually right.

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11 Comments on “Drive-In Movies and Drive-Up Meals”

  1. Suzie Says:

    I remember Sunday evenings so well. The youngest wasn’t always the dumbest. I got in enough trouble without this one being found out!! As usual, my sister, Pam brings laughter to all our lives. The new “Erma Bombeck”. Maybe BETTER!! Love you. Suzie

  2. I remember going to the the drive-in movies with my parents (for family night) but never with a boyfriend. I guess it’s because none of them had cars.

    There was a driven-in called the Star-Lite Drive-In where I live now that I went to a couple of times with my ex-husband. We didn’t do anything inappropriate. I guess that’s because we were MARRIED.

  3. Oh, Pam, how awful!!! Let’s hope your amorous friend has improved his kissing technique over the years. If not, let’s look on the bright side. His hapless wife has probably saved a fortune on lip fillers!

  4. Betty Lynch Says:

    Oh Pam, I remember those early dates and thinking, what do people see in this guy. Haha! I agree, our parents usually knew more than we did. But it has taken me years before I admitted that. Haha!

  5. Debra Stokes Says:

    Oh, Pam!!! That would have been enough to keep me out of drive-ins forever!!!! My adult niece just told me about a drive-in near where she lives in Fayetteville, Ga. I think they may be making a comback. Caution your daughters!!!!!!!

  6. I remember going to the drive-in with my parents. We always saw the Disney movies. My favorite always was and still is “Lady and a Tramp”. But, I remember my first drive-in date. We went and saw two movies. We were so late getting home. We parked in the driveway and went into the back of the van (YES HE HAD A VAN!!) and we laid down to look out of the moon roof. Next thing I know it’s morning and we’d slept all night in my driveway!! NOTHING happened, but boy oh boy, did I feel guilty enough as if something did. I snuck into the house and had just crawled into bed, when my dad came knocking on my door to wake me up!!! Talk about close calls!

  7. cyndali Says:

    Wow….I met some bad kissers in my youth …..but that is so funny….I can only imagine what went through your head to use as an excuse!!!

  8. Karlyn Says:

    I’ve never been to a drive-up diner.. I like the idea though. Anytime I don’t have to get out of the car is a plus. 🙂 Drive-thru’s and Drive-in’s I’m well aware of and still enjoy. We have a drive-in theater near us still.. The sound is bad and so is the picture quality, but it’s still popular for the families on a spring/summer evening.

  9. I’ve been to the drive in many times, but always with my family. Never on a date! After I married, we would take our own children to the drive-in often. It was an inexpensive way for the whole family to see a movie. I must say I never witnessed any of the amorous episodes your parents cautioned you about. But I remember wondering as child there were so many cars in the back row of the drive in when there were plenty of places up front!

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